The left should certainly not proclaim such absolute "principles" as "We are against Western powers' military intervention whatever the circumstances." This is not a political position, but a religious taboo. One can safely bet that the present intervention in Libya will prove most embarrassing for imperialist powers in the future. As those members of the US establishment who opposed their country's intervention rightly warned, the next time Israel's air force bombs one of its neighbours, whether Gaza or Lebanon, people will demand a no-fly zone. I, for one, definitely will. Pickets should be organised at the UN in New York demanding it. We should all be prepared to do so, with now a powerful argument.
The left should learn how to expose imperialist hypocrisy by using against it the very same moral weapons that it cynically exploits, instead of rendering this hypocrisy more effective by appearing as not caring about moral considerations. They are the ones with double standards, not us.
[Gilbert Achcar grew up in Lebanon, and is currently professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London. His books include The Clash of Barbarisms: The Making of the New World Disorder, published in 13 languages, Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy, co-authored with Noam Chomsky, and most recently The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives.]
It's a somewhat long article. I won't tackle the whole thing. It's obvious from reading it that Gilbert Achcar along with Juan Cole and the talking-head "liberals/progressives" on MSNBC support some UN/NATO military action/intervention in Libya.
I linked this article because of all the articles, videos, and commentary I've seen to date, it appears to appreciate the historical moment in terms of pointing to the hypocrisy of the Empire in terms of the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP).
Today was the first I came across the article. I see therefore Gilbert Achcar and I arrived at some of the same ideas independently.
You may think it strange that as a devout Christian, I would link to an article stating the following:
The left should certainly not proclaim such absolute "principles" as "We are against Western powers' military intervention whatever the circumstances." This is not a political position, but a religious taboo.
Well, I am a socialist but not a Marxist. I'm a Christian. Jesus was not capitalistic, but he was not a coercive democrat or coercive socialist. How do these things jibe with Gilbert Achcar's correct observation concerning the lack of consistency in the application of the RtoP?
The truth is that Gilbert Achcar is partially right, not completely right. He is flat out wrong that "The left should certainly not proclaim such absolute 'principles' as 'We are against Western powers' military intervention whatever the circumstances.'" Liberals should always stand against militarism. This is the evolution of understanding. It's time humanity face it.
Gilbert Achcar trotted out Hitler the way Hitler has been trotted out against Gandhi, the way the Zionists trot out Hitler when the Zionists point at Iran. The British were able to be reached by Gandhi where Hitler simply said he would have shot Gandhi. Well, Churchill certainly had wanted Gandhi gone and was not above gassing the "inferior" breeds.
The real question is where does the violence end? It started somewhere and has been cascading through pre-history and history ever since. Hitler had his "excuses." Also, it really can't be proven that Hitler was above being reasoned with. It can never be proven that anyone is above being reasoned with. It hasn't been proven that Qaddaffi is above being reasoned with. Who's tried it? I doubt that Obama got him on the phone. He could have. He could have met with him face-to-face. He should have, frankly.
Why wasn't Qaddaffi at the UN shortly before, during, and then after the protests began if needs be? Why weren't all of the leaders of the Arabs states there? What kind of pathetically inept, nearly nonexistent foreign policy has been going on? Why did the Europeans meet with the US and absent even Turkey to decide what would happen in Libya? The Russians and Chinese had a say because they have vetoes on the UN Security Council (UNSC). However, they knew the whole thing was cobbled together and that Qaddaffi hadn't really been talked to — no one talked turkey to him.
Now what though? What good is this RtoP if it isn't consistently applied? I've been tweeting about it and posting on Facebook about it and blogging here some about it.
Here's my issue. I don't want to see a No-Fly Zone over Gaza more than I want to see the Zionists completely repent. Gilbert Achcar, no academic slouch, certainly can understand that. What am I though, too non-realpolitik? I'm too optimistic? How can an apocalyptical writer be too optimistic? Look, I'm spiritual. I know there is prophecy too. I believe in historicism within a properly defined context.
Look, secularists do not own liberalism or consistency. In fact, the religious do. That is no more a bold statement than the position of Gilbert Achcar that the left should reject pacifism because it's religious, though I believe he perhaps means spiritual or even irrational or unreasoned.
The violence needs to end. That end doesn't come via No-Fly Zones. It comes by Qaddaffi seeing the light and the Empire seeing the light at the same time in the same place. It comes by everyone seeing the light at the same time in the same place and then sticking with it. That's the only way the violence will end short of God ending human ability to make violence. We are free to be slaves to violence that is enslaving. Let us be truly free by choosing anti-violence always, everywhere. Now that's consistency.
Do you have to believe in the metaphysical to grasp that much? No. However, there are things you can't grasp beyond that anti-violence unless you believe in the metaphysical. There are things you can't grasp unless you believe in God. Then comes the Holy Spirit. Many believe. Few are baptized by fire.
This post is too short to explain it all.
Ponder Isaiah 32:1-8 (my favorite Old Testament to New Testament statement):
Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken. The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly. The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful. For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail. The instruments also of the churl are evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right. But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand.